As virus surges, isolated UK leader Johnson faces many foes
FILE - In this Friday, Oct. 23, 2020 file photo, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson walks from 10 Downing Street to a meeting with his ministers at the Foreign Office, in London. Less than a year after winning a landslide election victory, Johnson is facing multiple crises with few political friends. Johnson himself spent a week in hospital with the virus in April, some of it on oxygen in intensive care. “Our constituents have been some of the hardest hit by this virus, with many losing jobs, businesses, and livelihoods,” said group leader Jake Berry, demanding a road-map out of coronavirus restrictions and a jobs plan for the north. Even supportive lawmakers say Johnson’s government needs to show it cares about issues that matter to millions of people.
Another chunk of England faces tight virus restrictions
(AP Photo/Frank Augstein)LONDON – The British government on Wednesday put another 1.4 million people into England’s tightest coronavirus restrictions, but faced growing criticism that its piecemeal approach to curbing the outbreak is sowing division and confusion. Jarvis said local authorities had struck a deal with the British government on financial support to accompany the area measures. Instead, it has adopted a three-tier system for England, with areas classed as medium, high or very high virus risk. The measures have caused tension between Johnson’s Conservative government and local authorities in northern England, which has the country’s highest infection rates. Wednesday’s announcement about South Yorkshire means 7.3 million people, or 13% of England’s population, have been placed under the toughest restrictions — all of them in the north.
Leaders in US, Europe divided on response to surging virus
Virus cases are surging across Europe and many U.S. states, but responses by leaders are miles apart, with officials in Ireland, France and elsewhere imposing curfews and restricting gatherings even as some U.S. governors resist mask mandates or more aggressive measures. Kevin Stitt, a Republican, reiterated Tuesday that he has no plans to do so and would instead leave such decisions to local officials. Doug Burgum’s approach of leaving management of the virus to local officials. Mahoney, himself, cast the deciding vote against a city mask mandate early this month. Associated Press writers Adam Causey in Oklahoma City, Dave Kolpack in Fargo, North Dakota, and Jill Lawless and Sylvia Hui in London contributed to this story.
European nations mixed in their response to virus spikes
Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks, during a coronavirus media briefing in Downing Street, London, Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2020. (Leon Neal/Pool Photo via AP)Countries across Europe are battling coronavirus infection spikes with new lockdowns, curfews, face mask orders and virus tracking smart phone apps. In a small indication of success, Spain's government said it won't extend a state of emergency in the Madrid region when it expires Saturday, but will look to more local measures. Britain's government on Tuesday said it will impose tough new measures on Greater Manchester, sparking anger from the region's mayor. An outcry in Portugal has forced authorities to back away from a plan to make a tracing app mandatory nationwide.
Tough virus rules imposed on Manchester after talks collapse
Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham speaks to the media outside Bridgewater Hall, following last-ditch talks with the Prime Minister aimed at securing additional financial support for his consent on new coronavirus restrictions, in Manchester, England, Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2020. But he stressed that not acting would put lives and the health care system in Manchester at risk. Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham has been fighting for more financial support for workers and businesses affected by the restrictions in his region of almost 3 million people. At a minute past midnight on Friday, Greater Manchester will join the Liverpool and Lancashire regions of northwest England which have been placed in Tier 3, the highest level. Instead it has adopted a three-tier system for England, with areas classed as medium, high or very high virus risk.
Wales locks down as COVID-19 cases spike; Manchester resists
Hospitality workers protest in Parliament Square in London, Monday, Oct. 19, 2020. Hospitality workers are demonstrating outside Parliament against tougher coronavirus restrictions and the amount of financial support given by the government to the industry. Wales' First Minister Mark Drakeford said Monday administration was backing a short, sharp “firebreak” to slow the spread of COVID-19. “We’ve got a great industry with lots of heart, and nobody works in the hospitality industry to get rich. We do it because we love what we’re doing — and there’s so many people who depend on it,” he said.
Virus curbs widen England's north-south rift, stir animosity
John Ambrose, a guide with the Beatles-themed Fab4 Taxi Tours, wears a face mask as he walks past a statue of the Beatles in Liverpool, England, Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2020. Now, the coronavirus is putting Liverpool's hard-won revival in jeopardy, and raising tensions between the north of England and the wealthier south. Now, the coronavirus is putting the city’s hard-won revival in jeopardy, and raising tensions between the north of England and the wealthier south. However, Liverpudlians retained their mistrust of London politicians, and the virus pandemic has brought it to the surface. Authorities in northern England agree on the need to act.
London faces new restrictions as city sees higher virus risk
The government is negotiating with the leaders of Manchester, Lancashire and other communities in northern England about moving into the top risk tier, which would require the closure of many businesses. The opposition Labour Party’s spokesman on health issues, Jonathan Ashworth, described the measures as inadequate to stem the exponential growth of the virus. Hancock said discussions were continuing with Greater Manchester and Lancashire about moving those communities into the government’s highest risk tier. Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham once again rejected government pressure to accept the higher risk rating without further financial support. “They are willing to sacrifice jobs and businesses here to try and save them elsewhere,″ a visibly furious Burnham said.
England's big northern cities brace for more lockdown curbs
“In some parts of the country, the number of cases are rising very fast and we are taking that very seriously." In many areas of northern England, it's not clear the local restrictions have worked — in some areas, the number of new infections is 10 times higher than when the localized virus restrictions were announced. Unions are demanding that the government accompanies any lockdown changes with a financial support package to prevent mass unemployment. A national program that has helped keep a lid on unemployment is due to halt at the end of October. ___Follow AP coverage of the virus outbreak at https://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak
UK's hospitality sector sounds alarm on jobs amid curfew
“We are doing that data again but we anticipate it will be far higher due to local restrictions, the national constraints on events, working from home and the curfew,” she said. The programme will be replaced by the less generous Jobs Support Scheme, which will see the government pay up to 22% of wages for workers who come back from Nov. 1. Many workers on furlough returned to their jobs when the sector reopened in early July after months of lockdown. But Nicholls said around 900,000 hospitality workers remain on furlough and urged the government to do more to ensure that most of them remain in their jobs through winter. That would push unemployment towards the 3 million mark, a level the U.K. has not seen since the early 1990s.